Aren't we all tired of listening to seminars, meetings (at work), etc about how nations or us should be able to raise productivities in order to increase their overall growth, and as usual by the way for me, in the other hand all the solutions proposed are always too general and vague? Well, this is the prologue, i will tell you the paradox of education and productivities.
Higher education, for what?
Let me start this article to tell the important of education. Inclusive education is an effective instrument to build the equality, no matter that you're rich or poor, you will get the same opportunity to get the education (equitable societies). To define what's wrong with our education is to define first what we need education for. The purpose of education i think is to give students all the opportunities to find their passions (include to empower them to achieve their passion). So, every students has a dream to achieve.
By the way, i love the way of thinking of Sigmund Freud (and umm, i have couple of his books), for him, the function of education is to prepare the next generations with basic capabilities, in order to survive in relations with fellow humans. I do agree with Sigmund Freud. Survive! That's the point! In all competition, the important thing in life is how to survive in all condition! That's why i think it's our obligation to pass our capabilities and of course knowledge to the next generations and enlighten em with training and skills. Those knowledge and capabilities are required for the next generations to train themselves to be skilled analysis,to be a problem solver and to think out of the box.
The final product that we hope for our next generation are generations ready for the workforce. We expect that they become capable to fulfill their needs and to become a useful citizen and independent. So, education becomes the value added to the all human being.
Well, to get the higher education, it's a choice. If you're in highschool right now, it's a choice you will go to the universities or polytechnics (diploma 3 degree). Even, as usual, Polytechnic always be the second choice of student, the plan B if they didn't pass the examination to the University. If you go to the universities, you will get theory and knowledge. If you go to the polytechnic, you will get skill. That's why the purpose of polytechnic education to increase productivity and competitiveness.
Yet many Indonesian Diploma 3 Degree graduates remain unemployed. And that happened in Universities too. There's also a mismatch of skills between what graduates offer and employers need. In polytechnic, you learn some spesific things, and you can apply that afterall. Learning by doing. My point is that our vocational higher education (polytechnic) should aim to provide highly trained workers, so they can apply what they learn to the Company . And in the lower level, vocational schools at the secondary level (SMK), is the same thing. Aside from skills upgrade, i think entrepreneurship should be taught in vocational schools to create jobs and produce jobs for others. Because this way is an effective way to alleviate the problem of youth unemployment.
In my previous paragraph, i mention about there's mismatch of skills between what vocational graduates offer and employers need. I call it "talent mismatch". What's talent mismatch? It's not about unemployment, but most of it that what people learn in universities, and what they do in the workplace. For example, there are soooooo manyyyy Engineering School graduates leave their fields & find employment at investment banks. Why? Because they can get better pay elsewhere. It's ok, i don't mind.
But in another example, i don't know why. But honestly, for me, the best students (the highest IQ above the rest) should be in science! Why? Because i think the smart one should do some scientific research and innovation forwards for human being. I don't know but how come we let such an important aspect of civilization to fall to the hands of only (i'm sorry) second or third rate future scientists. Think twice! While in the other side there are still too few social scientists in Indonesia contributing to knowledge production at the global level. This is when i compare to our neighboring countries, where there's huge difference in the number of publications. I mean, come on fellas, why don't best kids study science? Why?
Maybe we understand why our best kid, friend, colleague, etc who are smart but they aren't interested in science, because of money, right? They who make so many research but in the other way, they're still underpaid. That's why i'm not shock when people speak about public intellectual. Appering on television shows with politicians (some as*hole like Fadly Zonk, Fak-ry Hamsiong) or making statements in media online, mass media, is often seen as a measurement of success for a public intellectual. That's why in politic, that a man who always be a guest in tv, they're offered as a consultant for political parties or even as a public official. That's how Indonesians look to the smart one.
Ok, let's continue to talk about "talent mismatch". I have so many friends that they work, their jobdesk isn't appropriate with their background. Some take law school, then they work as HRD. Ok, speaking of law school, i give you some example. What i see is, the best law school graduates become lawyers, let's name it like Hotman Paris Hutapea, etc who help their clients win their cases in the courtroom. The second rates graduates become prosecutors, and the rest become Judges (if all choose their work as the same as their major). I mean it doesn't mind. It's their choice, But why we don't think that shouldn't The Best become Judges, so they're not easily fooled by Lawyers? It's kind of my logic sense. Have you ever watched The Judge? The movie which is starred by Robert Downey Jr. If you never watch it, watch now! It's a brilliant movie for sure.